This Saturday at 6pm ET, Hall of Fire rejoins Aragorn and the armies of the west as they stand before the black gates of Mordor.
Gandalf stirred; and he turned, looking back north where the skies were pale and clear. Then he lifted up his hands and cried in a loud voice ringing above the din: The Eagles are coming!
The Return of the King: Book VI, Chapter IV: The Field of Cormallen
Shortly after, the hosts of Mordor tremble as the will of Sauron is removed. The armies of the West watch in awe as Carchost and Narchost crumble and the malice of Sauron withers in the wind.
Gandalf bids Gwaihir the Windlord bear him to Mount Doom where Frodo and Sam await the end.
Our heroes awaken in fair Ithilien in the keeping of the King. There they receive the praise of the armies of the West, and are finally reunited with the remainder of the fellowship after their long ordeals.
How is Sauron’s fall described, and what does it tell us about the Dark Lord and the (illusory) nature of power? How do we contrast Sam’s indomitable spirit and Frodo’s fatalism on Mount Doom? And what of the reception the hobbits are accorded? How does it contrast with the often-time frosty, wary reception they receive earlier in Gondor, Rohan and Lorien?
Tolkien wanted to create a feeling of Eucatastrophe in this chapter. His definition of Eucatastrophe being “sudden joyous ‘turn’…it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal defeat and in so far is evangelium [good news], giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief”.
How well do you think he succeeded in this undertaking?
Join us this Saturday at 6pm ET in Hall of Fire as we discuss this chapter that poses many interesting questions.
September 13: The role of Gandalf in the War of the Ring
September 20: ROTK Bk 6, Ch 5: The Steward and the King
The End of the Third Age by John Howe.
Time zone conversions
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